Popularity of Mindfulness Meditation is quickly spreading among CEO’s and senior executives the world over. Practice of Mindfulness is being identified as major reason of success in creativity and innovation and performance par excellence, among those who have made mindfulness their religion.
The worldwide CEO fraternity appears to embrace mindfulness meditation as its benefits are being identified far more than just recreation or relaxation.
Louis Gagnon, president of the carpooling start-up ride.com and former executive at the audio content company Audible Inc., flew down all the way to New Delhi to speak to students from around the world about creating global harmony and inner peace through the practice of meditation. At the World Culture Festival’s Global Youth Leadership Forum over the weekend, he shared his view that we can only reach our highest potential as individuals and leaders if we find peace of mind.
CEO of the TLEX Institute, Johann Berlin who specializes in bringing mindfulness training to CEOs and corporate teams, says he’s seeing a growing interest among leaders in meditation as a way to build leadership skills – and achieve business goals. Mindfulness is being seen as truly beneficial to existing priorities like retention, talent advancement, innovation. One of Berlin’s clients, a Fortune 25 company, has integrated mindfulness techniques into its high potentials program with the goal of creating agile and flexible mindsets as a foundation for leadership.
Extensive research on mindfulness suggests that meditation sharpens skills like attention, memory, and emotional intelligence. As a Mindfulness meditation trainer I have numerous stories of executives who continue to unleash the power of mindfulness at their work and in their personal lives too.
There stands no doubt that meditation builds resilience. Numerous research studies show that meditation has the potential to decrease anxiety, thereby potentially boosting resilience and performance under stress. One such experience of Alak Vasa, founder of Elements Truffles, who started meditating as a trader at Goldman Sachs and ITG, mentions how meditation and mindfulness helped her keep fear and panic at bay, even under duress, when last year the market tanked and there was panic on the desk. The trading desk was an organized riot. Today she thanks her meditation practice which helped her keep her composure and helped her propose solutions to reduce the impact of the market crash.
Mindfulness- YOU AND YOUR TEAM
How to bring calm and focus to your work routine.
Jonathan Tang, founder and CEO of VASTRM fashion, first introduced meditation to his staff after 9/11. “In the aftermath of 9/11, the employees at my company were noticeably shaky and distracted. I decided to bring in a meditation facilitator to offer people the ability to sit silent for 20 minutes. The room filled up quickly as people really needed an outlet for peace. When the session was over, people who had never meditated before were filled with a sense of calm. It helped them be more present at work and even carried forth to being more present with their families at home.”
Brain-imaging research suggests that meditation can help strengthen your ability to regulate your emotions and also boost emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence or Emotional quotient(EQ) is the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.
How Meditation made these CEO’s successful
Successful serial entrepreneur and CEO and Founder of Sattva, Archana Patchirajan, shared that in her early years as a leader, she wanted things to happen in her way and on her timeline. Archana showed little interest in understanding her team. She would just get angry on any non-performance issue or when her expectations were not met. “I didn’t tend to understand what my team was going through. I would just get angry if they did not perform according to my expectations.
Evidence shows that anger bears a direct impact on cardiovascular health, hence it is critical that leaders be able to manage their anger, and put themselves in other people’s shoes. Today Archana thanks meditation which is now a part of her daily practice, as her saviour in not only helping her attain a peaceful and balanced mind but also amazing and strong relations with her team.
Dr. James Doty, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, who values the greatness of meditation for its ability to cultivate emotional intelligence. shares case of a colleague had developed a cutting-edge medical device, but the company he had started to develop and sell the device was on the rocks. At a meeting with vital – but disgruntled – stakeholders, he faced an angry and unreasonable investor. He credits his mindfulness practice with helping him respond with empathy. By not responding in an emotional manner, the angry investor not only got supportive but also became an ally in making the company a success. The company ultimately went public at a valuation of $1.3B.
Want to enhance CREATIVITY…Meditate
Meditation enhances creativity. Research on creativity suggests that we come up with our greatest insights and biggest breakthroughs when we are in a more meditative and relaxed state of mind. That is when we have “eureka” moments. Edison, Newton, Einstein, Henry Ford and the likes were all in meditative state of mind while making major breakthroughs. Poets, story writers and the likes are known to remain perpetually in meditative states which is also compared to sometimes ‘remaining lost’. A meditative state encourages divergent thinking (i.e. coming up with the greatest number of possible solutions to a problem), a key component of creativity.
Charly Kleissner credits meditation with helping him come up with new ideas and ventures that would otherwise not have occurred to him. “I co-founded the 100% IMPACT Network because of my meditation practice.”
Meditations improves compassion
Meditation improves your relationships. While stress narrows your perspective and that of your team, and reduces empathy, negatively impacting performance, meditation can help boost your mood and increase your sense of connection to others, even make you a kinder and more compassionate person.
A number of CEO’s who practice mindfulness meditation claim that meditation helps them to feel and remain more connected their employees and clients. Many start looking at their employees and clients as a part of their extended family.
Meditations helps you remain Focused
Meditation helps you focus. Research has shown that our minds have a tendency to wander about 50% of the time. Add in work interruptions, text messages, phone calls, and emails, and it’s no surprise that employees have a hard time staying focused. But studies show that meditation training can help curb our tendency for distraction, strengthening our ability to stay focused and even boosting memory.
About author: Dr. Amitabh Singh is the founder of Aadyanta Life. He provides personal coaching and consultations to the corporate leaders, business owners and top line executives. He specializes in Mindfulness Meditation coaching and his thought provoking and enlightening lectures are for those who are interested in alternative ways to improve their lifestyle, happiness and well-being.